That’s what I’ve been calling the latest, G80-gen M3, and there’s actually some sound reasoning behind why it looks like this.

  • Car: BMW M3
  • Location: California
  • Photog: Peter Nelson (IG + Twitter: @16vPete)
  • Camera: Canon 6D, EF 35-85mm Zoom

The 2021 M3 has an all-new, 3.0-liter, twin-turbo Inline-6 that produces 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Over 450 horsepower… from just three liters! Dubbed the S58, this thing makes some serious, serious heat.

Because of this, a shit-load of cooling is required, so BMW says. From the company’s press release:

“The new 2021 BMW M3 and M4 include water and oil cooling systems designed to stand up to the high temperatures of track use. Large front intakes ensure that there is a sufficient flow of air to the low-temperature and high-temperature radiators in the upper part of the grille opening. The lower area air flow is used to support the engine oil cooler, and in Competition models, a separate transmission oil cooler.

The low temperature cooling circuit features an electric cooling pump which supplies flow for the intercooler. The high temperature circuit supplies coolant to the engine and turbochargers through a mechanical coolant pump, main radiator and two supporting radiators in the front wheel wells. An additional electric cooling pump allows for turbocharging cooling to continue even after the engine has been switched off.”

That’s a crap-ton of complexity to keep this angry six cool. Does it excuse the look of it? For the record, I’m OK with it. But I’m not defending the front grille. It’d look much better with smaller, M340i kidneys. But, it does help to have a teeny bit of insight into their function-over-form reasoning. At least I’m thinking that’s their idea.